Chelsea: Timo Werner, Sander Berge could pay off in Champions League

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 29: Timo Werner of Leipzig runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League Group B match between RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig at on November 29, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 29: Timo Werner of Leipzig runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League Group B match between RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig at on November 29, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images) /

Chelsea should look for January transfers who can have an immediate impact in the Champions League while bedding in for the next few seasons in all competitions. Timo Werner and Sander Berge top this list.

With the Court of Arbitration for Sports halving the transfer ban, rumours are popping up everywhere about what Chelsea could do with its £150 million “warchest.” While these, like all rumours, may be entirely unfounded, there is potentially some value to be derived from doing business in January. Both Manchester City and Liverpool have conducted significant business in the winter transfer window, namely their signings of Aymeric Laporte and Virgil Van Dijk, respectively. These deals were not exactly bargains, either. Both players cost in excess of £60 million.

The Blues have been linked almost daily with Jadon Sancho and Wilfried Zaha, but these are hardly appealing opportunities. Sancho may have a bit more to recommend him, but that says as much about Zaha as it does the Dortmund man.

Instead, if Chelsea are to make any January purchases, they should look for players who would provide an immediate boost to this season’s Champions League hopes as well as figuring into the plan for the next few seasons. Just getting past Bayern Munich in the next round will be an accomplishment, and the chances of doing that increase with Timo Werner and Sander Berge.

Chelsea have been linked with Werner, and they should pull out all stops to complete this deal in the winter transfer window.

The obvious first question and objection is: What about Tammy Abraham? Well, simply, just because Chelsea sign Werner will not mean Abraham won’t get to play. It will mean Frank Lampard has the opportunity to play different styles and formations, something we know he is willing and capable of doing after the changes against Tottenham.

With Werner and Abraham, Lampard could play a two-man strike force or just rotate his strikers to alleviate the volume of games Abraham will end up playing this season. With Olivier Giroud looking to leave in the winter transfer to get secure his place at Euro 2020, Chelsea need someone to supplement the striking department as a worthy starting XI option.

Timo Werner is a different profile of player from Abraham, which makes this deal that much more tantalizing. He’s very pacy and can use channels very well. His finishing has gone to the next level this season and he has also been very creative: 18 goals and six assists in the Bundesliga, 23 goals and 10 assists in all competitions.

A few advantages working in Chelsea’s favour is his release clause being rumoured to be less than £40 million, which is a snip in this current market, and the expectation that RB Salzburg’s Erling Haaland is standing by to replace Werner at RB Leipzig earlier than expected.

Sander Berge is another interesting player to watch. He’s very tall and could compensate for the squad’s lack of height at set pieces. Like N’Golo Kante, he’s a terrific reader of game, with his defensive actions being very measured and done only when necessary. He also has an eye for the thread-the-needle pass, which, surrounded by better players as he would be at Chelsea, will be more frequent than he can currently do at Genk.

Chelsea's XI of the Decade. From Cech to Drogba with Kante at the centre of it all. light

Whereas Jorginho is the passer, Kante is the shuttler and Mateo Kovacic is a combination of the other two, Berge is a defensive powerhouse combined with Jorginho’s eye for a pass. He’s available for a rumoured £25 million. Liverpool are linked with him, and their scouting is demonstrably excellent. Berge would be a great addition to the XI and, like Werner, will be great for rotation and intrasquad competition.

In recent days, the Sancho rumours have added the detail of a Christian Pulisic-type deal. That makes the option slightly more attractive and would step up Chelsea’s opportunity to spearhead a Premier League title challenge next season. With Willian having a great season, the Blues should be able to achieve their domestic goals for 2019/20.

Next. Boxing Day predicted XI: 4-2-3-1 returns against Southampton. dark

But with Timo Werner and Sander Berge, the Blues can make their mark ahead of schedule in the Champions League and have a head start on next season’s Premier League push. The half season head start would allow Werner and Berge to bed themselves into the squad, so come August they are fully two of Lampard’s Blues.